1 THE BURDEN or oracle (the thing to be lifted up) which Habakkuk the prophet saw.
2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and You will not hear? Or cry out to You of violence and You will not save?
3 Why do You show me iniquity and wrong, and Yourself look upon or cause me to see perverseness and trouble? For destruction and violence are before me; and there is strife, and contention arises.
4 Therefore the law is slackened and justice and a righteous sentence never go forth, for the [hostility of the] wicked surrounds the [uncompromisingly] righteous; therefore justice goes forth perverted.
5 Look around [you, Habakkuk, replied the Lord] among the nations and see! And be astonished! Astounded! For I am putting into effect a work in your days [such] that you would not believe it if it were told you. [Acts 13:40, 41.]
6 For behold, I am rousing up the Chaldeans, that bitter and impetuous nation who march through the breadth of the earth to take possession of dwelling places that do not belong to them. [II Kings 24:2.]
7 [The Chaldeans] are terrible and dreadful; their justice and dignity proceed [only] from themselves.
8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards and are fiercer than the evening wolves, and their horsemen spread themselves and press on proudly; yes, their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle that hastens to devour.
9 They all come for violence; their faces turn eagerly forward, and they gather prisoners together like sand.
10 They scoff at kings, and rulers are a derision to them; they ridicule every stronghold, for they heap up dust [for earth mounds] and take it.
11 Then they sweep by like a wind and pass on, and they load themselves with guilt, [as do all men] whose own power is their god.
12 Are not You from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have appointed [the Chaldean] to execute [Your] judgment, and You, O Rock, have established him for chastisement and correction. [Deut. 32:4.]
13 You are of purer eyes than to behold evil and can not look [inactively] upon injustice. Why then do You look upon the plunderer? Why are you silent when the wicked one destroys him who is more righteous than [the Chaldean oppressor] is?
14 Why do You make men like the fish of the sea, like reptiles and creeping things that have no ruler [and are defenseless against their foes]?
15 [The Chaldean] brings all of them up with his hook; he catches and drags them out with his net, he gathers them in his dragnet; so he rejoices and is in high spirits.
16 Therefore he sacrifices [offerings] to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, because from them he lives luxuriously and his food is plentiful and rich.
17 Shall he therefore continue to empty his net and mercilessly go on slaying the nations forever?